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Wahlin leads, Wie 7 shots back in Dubai

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates >> Lotta Wahlin shot a 6-under 66 Wednesday to take the clubhouse lead in the first round of the Dubai Ladies Masters, one stroke ahead of Becky Brewerton of Wales.

Wahlin, 28, whose career was disrupted in 2009 when she was diagnosed with skin cancer, made a 26-foot birdie putt on the 18th for the lead to go along with six other birdies and a bogey.

The Swede is two shots ahead of four others and four shots ahead of Lexi Thompson (70), the 16-year-old American who is the youngster winner on the LPGA Tour.

“I struggled with my putter until the 16th hole,” Thompson said. “Then I figured some things out so it went well for the last three. I hit it well, just putts didn’t drop.”

Michelle Wie, looking for her first win of the year, was seven shots back after shooting 73. She’s tied for 54th in the 108-player field.

Wie, who was hampered last year with a back injury, missed several birdie chances, including on her final hole (ninth) of the day.

“Frustrating,” Wie said. “It was one of those days where nothing went in and nothing went my way. It was pretty frustrating that I was 1-over par. I have tomorrow and my game is feeling pretty good. So I just have to go out there and score.”

Wahlin was diagnosed with skin cancer while in Dubai. She only played a few events on the European Ladies Tour last year and several on the Swedish tour. She has fully recovered. She wears sun screen and protective clothing that covers her arms while avoiding tournaments in sunnier locales such as Australia and Portugal.

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